On Mother's Day I will be doing a pop-up at Amaryllis Cafe in Kifissia, Greece. Unfortunately, that might be a bit too far for some of you to take mom on her special day. But fear not, you can still give mom a wonderful (and healthy) surprise with my delicious recipe for apricot-almond cake.
The flavor of bitter almond, naturally found in apricot seeds, makes the prefect pairing with the apricot compote. With three separate components to the cake, this may seem like a daunting recipe, but it's actually quite quick and simple to prepare. This recipe is made even easier by the fact that the lemon-ricotta filling and apricot compote can be made days in advance. So even the busiest son or daughter will have time to prepare this cake for mom on her special day!
Apricot Almond Cake
160 grams (6 1/2 ounces) cream cheese
118 grams (2/3 cup) ricotta cheese, reduced fat or whole
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
160 grams (2/3 cup) apricot jam, preferably with no added sugar
90 grams (scant 1/3 cup) orange marmalade, preferably with no added sugar
85 grams (2 ½ ounces) cream cheese
85 grams (2 ½ ounces) butter
144 grams (2/3 cup) sugar
2 large whole eggs
2 egg whites, from large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
135 grams (1 cup) cake flour
15 grams (2 tablespoons) almond meal or finely ground almonds
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, to garnish
To prepare the filling: in a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Using a mixer, beat the mixture, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the ricotta, mix just until combined. Set aside. If making ahead, refrigerate the mixture until ready to use.
To prepare the compote: Combine the apricot jam and orange marmalade by whisking until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 170C/350F with a rack in the center position. Grease two 20cm/8inch cake pans and line the bottoms with greased parchment paper. Set aside.
In mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. With the final egg white, add the almond extract and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture and fold the two together until thoroughly combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool slightly in the pans. To remove the cakes from the pans, run a paring knife around the edge of the pans and invert the cakes onto a plate. Carefully peel of the parchment paper if it has stuck to the bottom of the cakes. Allow the cakes to finish cooling.
To assemble the cake: place one of the unmolded cakes onto a serving plate. Spread the lemon-ricotta filling evenly over the surface of the cake, until the top of the cake is completely covered, spoon the apricot filling on top of the ricotta, allowing some of the compote to run down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of almonds on top and cover with the second cake. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of powdered sugar on top of the cake with a fine mesh strainer. Serve the cake immediately.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.